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Re: “What it was really like ... in one family

I want to emphasize that my experience wasn't bad. I grew up with a very large and sociable family and am myself quite extroverted. I also agree that every educational experience is unique and that children who attend public school (I did for as period of time) have some of the same experiences. However, I do believe that the homeschool experience is unique and different and the way that a "homeschooler" is treated in the world is different than the way a child with a conventional school background is treated. The word "homeschool" evokes images and stereotypes that parents and children alike find themselves dealing with on a daily basis. I often compare it to the high school experience. I've seen it on TV, heard friends talk about it, watched it in the movies, but I will never really "get" the high school experience. I will never get the proms and the teachers you loved and the teachers you hated or other such experiences that make high school such a unique experience that it is still very much portrayed in popular media. Truth be told, there are many conversations today that I am left out of because I have not been part of that. Homeschooling is not just an experience I grew up with. I am also a academic researcher in the field of representations of education. I've done interviews and studies and looked at statistics (even though they are not nearly accurate) enough to know that more often than not children who were homeschooled do not tend to go on to homeschool their children. I also know that homeschoolers get burn-out. That homeschooled kids are often tossed back and forth between public school, private schools, charter schools as needs and situations change. In other words, homeschooled kids often have a unique view of seeing both sides of the educational coin. My current research is looking at the homeschooling movement as a global movement. Unfortunately, my experience with the homeschooling movement as a whole has been for parents and children to defend the practice, dismissing the negative aspects altogether, because of the wrongful stereotyping and negativity towards homeschoolers. Even though homeschooling has become more "mainstream" there are still those out there that make hurtful comments towards those who homeschool. I would venture to say that there isn't a lot of "truth telling" about the homeschool experience. And many parents who homeschool decide to do so with a promise NOT to homeschool the way their parents did. I would also venture to reiterate again that my experience, based on my research and conversations, has not been unique. That many homeschoolers have at some point felt lonely or isolated, or have even felt pressured to be a "super genius" so parents can prove to the outside world that their method "works." I was one of those homeschooled kids that started college as a teenager--and I regret it! So do many homescholed kids who started college at 12 and 13. As communities get bigger, I have no doubt the experience of younger generations of homeschoolers is different from my own. But I don't see a lot of homeschooled adults disagreeing with me. What I do see are homeschooling parents who are often so wrapped up in defending their practice to the outside world that they are missing how that experience affects the ways in which their own children express their experience.

Posted by moonbeam on 02/04/2008 at 6:29 PM

Re: “What it was really like ... in one family

Steve--I do have children of school age--so yes, I can appreciate that situation. My homeschooling experience was not in line with a Vietnamese prison camp. It had good and bad times. But your post actually proves my point that 1.) Adults do not openly listen to the stories and experiences (as varied as they are) of adults who were homeschooled 2.) Homeschooled parents believe that no matter the experience they hear elsewhere--they know how to homeschool "the right way" Thanks for proving my points. :)

Posted by moonbeam on 02/03/2008 at 3:46 PM

Re: “What it was really like ... in one family

This article really spoke to me. I was homeschooled also and it rang completely true in almost every way. The problem is that most adults out there don't actually listen to grown up homeschooled kids. They want to reinvent the field themselves and convince themselves that the way they are "doing" homeschooling is the right way--where the author's parents obviously did it the "wrong" way. I grew up surrounded by homeschooling families, but even when we got together, I found it a very lonely environment. Because EVERY family homeschools for different reasons and has VERY different rules and values. Some were allowed to talk about pop culture (i.e. simpsons and other popular shows and such) and some where not. Some grew up in a very academic based world and some did not. I too had to take remedial math AND English---but am now finishing my Master degree. The truth is, nobody has asked "grown up" homeschool kids if they would also homeschool their kids--or if so, how many would homeschool their kids. I find it absolutely amazing that parents--who have not been homeschooled themselves, can even pretend to understand the experiences of children who have been homeschooled--even if they are themselves homeschooling their children. Bottom line--no matter how much a homeschooled parent tries to understand that experience, they never will unless they themselves were homeschooled. For those posters who believe you are "doing" homeschooling the right way--that your proud your kids don't talk about "Dawnson's Creek" or that this author obviously had a unique experience, think again. The fact of the matter is--you can't guarantee your kids won't or don't feel the exact same way.

Posted by moonbeam on 02/03/2008 at 9:48 AM

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